"Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit..." (Luke 4:14)
The wise philosopher, Kelly Clarkson, has a lyric that says, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger...”, which is a nice anthem for people to sing in their cars, but is there really any truth to it? Does every hardship, every struggle, and every challenge truly make you stronger? Well, I don’t know the answer to that from the world’s perspective, but I do know the answer from a Kingdom Perspective. This revelation came to mind as I read Luke 4.
Luke 3 records the baptism of Jesus, and then in Luke 4 we read that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where, for 40 days, he did not eat and he was tempted by Satan. I don’t even want to imagine this struggle, both physically and emotionally. I’m sure not eating was tough, but having to battle with the devil for 40 days and face the onslaught of temptations and lies must have been far worse. Jesus overcame each lie and each temptation with the Truth of God, and ultimately stood victorious over Satan. The victory must have been sweet...but don’t forget, He still hadn’t eaten and He had been battling in the wilderness for 40 days. I would guess He must have been tired, hungry, and weary, but Luke 4:14 records a different story and says, “14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit”. Jesus returned from the battle in power, He returned from the fasting in power, and He returned from overcoming temptation in power. In essence, Jesus returned even stronger. Adam Clarke says this,
“He who, through the grace of God, resists and overcomes temptation, is always bettered by it. This is one of the wonders of God’s grace, that those very things which are designed for our utter ruin he makes the instruments of our greatest good. Thus Satan is ever duped by his own proceeding, and caught in his own craft.”
So the next time temptation comes tempting remember the grace that God affords to stand against it AND to be bettered by it. The temptation can actually lead to our “greatest good”! Choose to resist the pull of the flesh that you might experience the power of the Spirit. Jesus returning in power allowed Him to preach in power, so too, when we are able to overcome temptation God will use us to preach, to reach, and to bear fruit in His power and for His glory. In the face of temptation remember…remember you have access to His grace and power to persevere AND access to His grace and power to proceed in all that He has for you today. Don’t succumb but stand that You might see Him move.
Jesus, thank You so much for this new perspective on temptation. May I see each situation as an opportunity to experience Your grace in persevering over it and Your grace in proceeding to the calling that You have. Thank You for using the tough situations to make me stronger and for Your amazing plan that turns things designed for our ruin into instruments of our greatest good. May I stand, by Your grace, today. In Your name, Amen!